February 25, 2024

Working out is great for your heart, but you can’t immediately go from 0 to 60. Follow these tips to safely make the most of your exercise

Heart disease is the No. 1 killer of Tennesseans. For top heart health, the American Heart Association recommends 30 minutes or more of steady aerobic exercise most days of the week. When you’re starting a new exercise routine, ease into it.

Follow these easy tips to make exercise a natural part of your healthy lifestyle:

1. Start slowly. Don’t burn yourself out with high-impact exercise for extended periods of time right away. Instead, try adding a 30- to 60-minute brisk walk four days a week to your routine. Stretch for 15 minutes before and after you walk so you don’t strain your muscles.

2. Think about how you will build activity into your daily routine. Time for exercise will not just magically appear. Set aside a specific amount of time for exercise in your schedule. You may prefer to get up a little earlier to get some exercise before heading to work. Most gyms offer classes as early as 5 or 6 a.m. — try one out! Some people prefer to use their lunch hour to exercise. Or try making time after work to exercise. Choose what works best for you. Block out time on a paper or digital calendar for each workout, like any other appointment you’d feel obligated to keep.

3. Variety is the spice of life. Plan to include many activities to keep from getting bored with your exercise routine. Visit Radnor Lake for a weekend walk, or look at option outside Nashville, like a hike at Fall Creek Falls or to the deep swimming holes at Rock Island State Park. If you’re short on time, your local gym has dozens of different exercise classes to choose from. Grab a friend and try one out together. You may find that exercise can actually be fun.

4. Write it down. Plan out your exercise routine for the first month and write it down. This may help you to set goals and keep on track. Keep a daily log of your activity. The feeling of accomplishment you get from seeing your progress in writing can help you continue your exercise plan.

Make a Plan

Discuss with your doctor before beginning a new fitness program, and learn more heart-healthy tips here.

More Fitness Tips